The content of this blog is my personal opinion only. Although I am an employee - currently of Nvidia, in the past of other companies such as Iagination Technologies, MIPS, Intellectual Ventures, Intel, AMD, Motorola, and Gould - I reveal this only so that the reader may account for any possible bias I may have towards my employer's products. The statements I make here in no way represent my employer's position, nor am I authorized to speak on behalf of my employer. In fact, this posting may not even represent my personal opinion, since occasionally I play devil's advocate.

See http://docs.google.com/View?id=dcxddbtr_23cg5thdfj for photo credits.

Friday, May 20, 2016

Wanted: portable labelmaker, USB charge, upload label and location to database

I just spent ... more time than I want to admit ... searching for the lost AC adapter for my label printer.
DYMO LabelManager 280D Label Maker:
Rechargeable Battery Pack
USB Cable
Charging Adapter
Damn! You would think that if it has a USB port, it could be charged via USB!!!!

I can understand that it might not be possible to operate via USB, if the labelmaker thermal printer takes too much power during operation.  But at least it could charge the battery!

Here's a Product I Want:
  • LabelMaker
  • Battery powered
  • USB
    • to charge battery
    • for data communication with a controlling device
      • PREFERRED: to mobile device (cell phone, tablet)
      • LESS PREFERRED: to PC (Windows/Mac/*x/..., desktop/laptop/...)
OPTIONAL: freestanding, with the sort of lousy membrane keyboard that most label makers have.

ALTERNATE: use controlling device (cell phone, tablet, or PC) to write the label, etc.
  • PREFERRED: cell phone and/or tablet
    • Form factor of labelmaker such that it can easily be attached to mobile device.  
      • E.g. clip over the edge of a cellphone, although that makes product specific to particular phones
      • Myself, I would probably velcro it or otherwise attach it to my cellphone. 
  • MUCH LESS PREFERRED: PC or laptop as controlling device for labelmaker
    • Kills the usage model of composing and printing labels at storage shelves
Frankly, being able to write the label on a phone/tablet/laptop/PC is NOT a big selling point for me.  (Unless there is no keyboard on the labelmaker.)

Much more important to me would be having the ability to upload the text labels written and printed while walking around to a database.

I.e. PC--->LabelMaker or phone--->LabelMaker not important

LabelMaker ---> phone/PC/... is more important

USAGE MODEL: putting stuff away in storage. Print and label storage box or file, upload text of label (along with date and location) to a database.   So that you almost automatically get a database telling you WHERE you have stored a physical box or file.

Bonus points for allowing a photograph of what is being put away to be taken and recorded to the database.

The need to have location (GPS/other) and photo motivates having a labelmaker that is controlled by a mobile phone via USB or similar.  Plus, it gives you a much better input device than the lousy membrane keyboard typical of labelmakers.  Cost reduction for the labelmaker.

PlusPlus, if you have a need to download long lists of labels to print, phone/PC--->LabelMaker gives you that ability.

Location: GPS or wifi or or other usual wireless a start.   But if you want to record which room of a house or which shelf in a storage closet of an apartment you have put the box or file in, GPS not fine grain enough.   This partly motivates photographs - e.g. photograph a shelf, possibly with an ID number.  But it might also motivate something more convenient for user, such as RFID on shelves. Slightly more advanced tech, but more convenient. If you have home automation, e.g. for light switches, those IDs may be sufficient.


Further: standalone portable LabelMaker with wifi or other wireless - to update database immediately.  (Of course, it would need the usual lousy labelmaker keyboard, if not attached to a mobile phone.)

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